Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another Closet Opened

An evangelical pastor has admitted to sexual improprieties with a man, tearfully leaving his church.

Sound familiar? It should, only this time, it happened a bit farther to the north.

One month after prominent Colorado Springs pastor Ted Haggard left New Life Church following revelations of an alleged tryst with a male escort, the Rev. Paul Barnes of Douglas County's 2,100-member non-denominational Grace Chapel has voluntarily stepped away from the pulpit, saying he's had sex with men.

According to The Denver Post, Barnes addressed the church via a 32-minute video, saying he struggled with homosexuality since he was 5 and repeatedly asked God to take those tendencies away from him.

Though Barnes didn't have the visibility of Haggard, the story will surely generate another barrage of name-calling and finger-pointing. Barnes, like Haggard, believed and taught that homosexual actions are sinful. In that light, certainly some will call Barnes a big ol' hypocrite.

This issue goes deeper, I think, than pastors preaching one thing and doing another. I think Barnes and Haggard both firmly believe what they taught, but they were apparently unable to stop their own tendencies even though they felt it wrong. Will the evangelical movement soften toward homosexual behavior? Doubtful. But I think it could broadly change its strategies as to how sexual orientation is dealt with and talked about. We'll see.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Zen said...

There's a lot more out there like them too. Guilt, shame, denial are ugly monsters indeed. Not that we should simply give in to our tendencies. But we cannot deny them. Healing is found when we embrace the whole being - light, dark, warts and all. Nothing is a mistake.

3:45 PM  

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